This had about as much drama as how the movie “Titanic” was going to end.
As has been expected through most of the summer and announced would happen in the last 24 hours, Dwyane Wade has cleared waivers and will join his buddy LeBron James in Cleveland this season. Wade made it official in a statement where he thanked the Bulls and their fans, and also said he would be joining the Cavaliers.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing for the Chicago Bulls and I feel so fortunate to have fulfilled my dream this past year. The team is now heading in a different direction, which has made me reevaluate where I need to be in this phase of my career. Being a part of a team that is in the process of rebuilding doesn’t align with where I want to be right now no matter how difficult that decision may be.
In the hopes of pursuing a fourth championship, I’ve reached a deal with the Chicago Bulls and I am excited to share that I will be joining the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. There’s no better place to be right now to continue to play and compete at the highest level. Cleveland believes in my talents and what I can bring to a championship contender both as a player and leader. I look forward to reuniting and playing alongside my brother LeBron. We’ve already won two championships together and I hope we win a third.
This was an incredibly difficult decision and I am very grateful to the Bulls organization, my fans and the Chicago community for welcoming me home with open arms. It meant so much to me seeing my mom on the sidelines cheering me on as a Bull. I am so proud of the work we have been doing in the community and we plan to continue these efforts. It’s been an honor and a privilege to play for my hometown. Chicago holds a very special place in my heart and will always be home to me.”
The Cavaliers announced Wade has signed the deal.
Wade is expected at the Cavaliers evening practice, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Wade and Chicago reached a buyout agreement over the weekend on his $23.8 million contract for this season — he still gets nearly $16 million of it – but he then had to clear waivers before he could sign with another team.
He signed a minimum $2.3 million deal with the Cavaliers, however, they will take a $6 million hit for it due to the increased luxury tax. The Cavaliers need to cut a guaranteed contract to make room for Wade, so expect them to look for a trade (maybe sending out Richard Jefferson).
Wade will likely start at the two, sharing time on the wing with J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver. This gives Cleveland more depth and certainly more scoring — Wade averaged 18.3 points per game last season and knows how to get buckets. Wade will get minutes — but expect the Cavaliers to have him on a knee maintenance program with an eye toward the playoffs — a he gets a chance to contend while playing with his good friend LeBron again. That was always going to win out over sentimentality with Miami.